Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Points based immigration

Sometimes, a law has an undesirable side-effect. Sometimes these side-effects are obvious, but not noticed by politicians.

Let's consider UK immigration. Currently, this is running at 612,000 per year (2019 numbers) of which 200,000 is EU and 333,000 is non-EU.

Net migration (immigration minus emigration) is -52,000 British, 59,000 EU and 219,000 non-EU

This means that EU immigration is a small percentage of the total, and leavng the EU will have no effect on the 219,000 non-EU immigration. So, leaving the EU isn't going to have mush impact on net immigration.

Now let's put a points based system in place. This means that instead of unskilled people coming to the UK, there will be skilled people.

And that means that the availability of jobs as fruit pickers and labourers will be greatly increased, which will lead to more British-origin people doing those jobs. And at the same time, the availability of jobs for skilled people (programmers, dentists) will be decreased, as the points-based immigrants will eagerly go after those jobs.

But, of course, automation is the real job-killer.


Tuesday, 18 February 2020

What Happens When You Pour Salt into a Cabbage?

This was the subject line of a recent spam. It continued ...

Putting a chopped onion in your socks tonight might be the best thing for your health.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Pneumonia jab

I hadn't known that there was a vaccine for pneumonia (which I barely know how to spell). But there is.

I was at the local clinic for a routine inspection, and the nurse said "I see you haven't had  a pneumonia jab." "No, I haven't. Should I?" "Yes"

So I rolled up my sleeve, she gave me a jab, and it was as simple as that.

I wasn't vaccinated because I hadn't known it was possible. ome people deliberately avoid getting their children vaccinated against, for example, measles, because they don't understand how it works, why it works, and why it's a good idea. I'd say "Darwin", but this isn't them, it's their children.

Ask your GP about the pneumonia jab.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Lie detectors

 ... don't work.

There's been suggestions that terrorists leaving prison, should be put through a lie detector test to see if they intent to commit further offences.

If only.

The problem is, lie detectors don't work.

They are great fun when used on reality TV shows, and can lead to great drama and confrontations. But they don't actually work.

The American Psychological Association says they don't work. "Most psychologists agree that there is little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies."

Yes, it would be great if there existed a "magic lasso" as used by Wonder Woman, that forced people to only tell the truth.  Or if there was a "truth serum" (why is it always called a serum?) that did that. Or if there were some technology that could tell if someone is lying.

William Moulton Marston (author of the Wonder Woman stories) invented the lie detector.
Since then, it's been used many times, both for fun (as in reality TV shows) and in serious situations, and people seem to think that it works.

It doesn't work.


Thursday, 16 January 2020

Nice scam

 This arrived in my mailbox.

Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2020 07:53:44
From: G.O.V. UK <>
To: xxx <>
Subject: Your latest vehicle tax payment failed ID - 4609441314363

Our Reference: 7399096
Date: 16/01/2020


Your latest vehicle tax payment failed. It appears that some of the billing
details associated with you might have expired or were otherwise changed.

Yours sincerely

Enforcement OfficerlxlyeAnPD
On behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport

At first glance, it looks plausible. But what is the "lxlyeAnPD"?

And why is this email apparently coming from And what is that web address? And G.O.V. UK would have looked better as "Vehicle Tax".

So I checked the header; the email came from, which is Russia!
And the address of the web site is ... Vietnam.

So, it's some sort of scam, and I'm guessing that if I were to go to that web address, it would want my credit card details, so they can bill me for vehicle tax.

So, nice try, but no banana.

If only they had used a spoof address that was (it's VERY easy to spoof the from address). And they should get rid of the "lxlyeAnPD". And use a more plausible web site address, or an URL shortener so the site address isn't obvious.

Incompetence. Incompetence everywhere, even in the scammers.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

VAT in the post-Brexit era

Apparently - no change.

I wrote to HMRC to ask them about how I pay VAT to EU countries after January 31st. They told me, same as before. The same arrangements continue (VAT MOSS) until the transition period expires (December 2020?). And after that - who knows?

Friday, 27 December 2019

Rough sleeping

I was in London for two days over Christmas, and I was shocked at the number of people I saw in Westminster and Victoria, sleeping in doorways and on the pavement.

Fortunately, the weather was mild. But it's still unacceptable. And it isn't just unacceptable over Christmas, it's terrible any time.

I do realise that it costs money to offer shelter to people, but there are so many empty buildings in London, such as churches, unused offices and palaces. And there is so much food thrown away at the end of the day, because tomorrow it won't be fresh.

Sleeping rough must be very bad for health, and invites crime against the sleeper. Our government is supposed to provide a safety net for people who are unable to cope. Why isn't this happening?